Consultant taking on public works
January 31, 2013
MAGNETAWAN – There has been a shift in the public works department.
During the Jan. 23 regular meeting of council, council approved the hiring of consultant Noel Waters for “special programs” in the public works department.
According to Mayor Sam Dunnett, one of Waters’ main tasks is to identify shovel-ready projects within the municipality in order to take advantage of government funding opportunities as they become available.
“We were looking for someone and he put in a proposal,” explained Dunnett. “So he’s been hired on. This is not unusual.”
When questions arose during the Jan. 23 council meeting from a local resident regarding the perceived overlap in the roles of Waters and operations and roads manager Ron Catcher, Dunnett first said the two men were not doing the same job, but upon further questioning from the resident, Dunnett agreed there is an overlap.
When Dunnett was asked how having two people doing the same job would save the Municipality money, Dunnett said, “I don’t know if it will save any money.”
According to Clerk Roger Labelle, Waters’ fee is $100 per hour. Labelle said the maximum number of hours to be contracted to Waters would be 100 for the year. He said Catcher’s salary is in the $70,000 range, plus 25 per cent in employment benefits.
Although Dunnett said he can’t discuss Catcher’s position because it is a personnel matter, he did confirm Catcher is still on the payroll, but does not actually attend the workplace.
Catcher could not be reached for comment.
“It’s a legal matter at this point,” said Labelle.
There was strife in the public works department in November of last year when municipal employees arrived to work on Monday morning to find stickers stuck all over municipal property.
The vandalism took place between Nov. 16 and 19.
According to police, the stickers stated not to stare at a particular individual and were found on construction vehicles and various sites including signs at the landfill and on stop signs.
Staff Sgt. Stacey Whaley of the OPP stated the stickers could have been intended as a practical joke, however it was taken seriously by police and investigated as mischief.
“It was defacing public property,” said Dunnett.
At the time, Labelle refused to comment on the incident stating that there were discussions with council and the union. According to police, no one has been charged in relation to the incident.
Catcher has been the road superintendent for the Municipality of Magnetawan since it’s amalgamation in 1999.
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